Finance in a digital world: It’s crunch time for CFOs.
A series on digital transformation in Finance
Traditionally, forecasting has been a mostly manual process with people gathering, compiling, and manipulating data, often within spreadsheets. There’s another way. Organisations are shifting to forecasting processes that involve people working symbiotically with data-fuelled, predictive algorithms. This guide shares the basics of algorithmic forecasting and how it changes forecasting processes, the workforce, and decision making. Find out how organisations are using algorithmic forecasting to create more accurate and timely predictions—and the lessons they learned along the way.
- Crunch time VI: Forecasting in a digital world
- Crunch time V: Finance 2025
- Crunch time IV
- Digital tools for CFOs
- Talent essentials for digital transformation
Crunch time VI: Forecasting in a digital world
Organisations are shifting to forecasting processes that involve people working symbiotically with data-fuelled, predictive algorithms. It’s all made possible by new technologies—advanced analytics platforms, in-memory computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) tools, including machine learning. Today, these technologies in the hands of expert forecasting talent give companies the ability to discover things they’ve always wanted to know—as well as things they didn’t know they didn’t know—with more confidence and speed.
Crunch time V: Finance 2025
Whether it’s phone apps, home automation, or cashless commerce, digital disruption is the new normal for consumers today. It’s changing what we do – and how we get things done – in countless ways.
What does this have to do with the future of Finance? Everything.
The technologies needed to reimagine Finance are here and will only get better. Plus, we can learn a lot from other business functions. Modern factories give us a glimpse of what automation can deliver. Smart contracts show us new ways of tracking assets. The lessons are out there, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can focus instead on adapting and adopting.
Crunch time IV: Blockchain for Finance – what CFOs need to know
Ten minutes into a discussion with a group of blockchain professionals, one CFO shook his head. “This is ridiculously ambiguous,” he complained. And it didn’t take long for others to agree. In response, we set out to demystify blockchain for CFOs, focusing on how finance organisations can apply blockchains to streamline processes, improve controls, and transform finance operations.
Blockchain for Finance is a practical guide for finance organisations that want to understand options for blockchain and make effective decisions about moving forward. It features more than a dozen Frequently Asked Questions finance teams can use to make sense of blockchain technology, as well as a high-level roadmap for adoption. It also includes a seven-point checklist for CFOs who are thinking about embarking on the blockchain journey.
Additional Crunch Time Reports
Crunch time: Finance in a digital world
Deloitte's original point of view, Crunch time: Finance in a digital world - based on extensive research with finance executives, including in-depth interviews with CFOs of global businesses - explores the various digital disruptors and may be the quickest way to understand what's in store for finance organisations as they hurtle toward the future.
Crunch time, too: CFOs talk off the record about finance in a digital world
In the follow-up report, Crunch time, too: CFOs talk off the record about finance in a digital world, 30 CFOs share their unfiltered thoughts and experiences around a broader discussion of finance and what it means to make the digital journey. Deloitte knows that one way to stay abreast of new developments is to join in focused conversations with other finance leaders, across multiple industries and geographies, so this is a good place to start.
Crunch time III: The CFO’s guide to cognitive technology
In the third instalment of the Crunch time series, Crunch time III: The CFO’s guide to cognitive technology, gain insight into how Finance organisations are deploying new cognitive technologies to help create a more efficient, insightful, and controlled Finance function, all without sacrificing service and quality.
Digital tools for CFOs
Some of the new digital tools available to finance focus specifically on updating core systems and existing capabilities. Other tools, "exponentials", are designed to deliver new and different capabilities. Together, they form a toolset finance can use to improve its own performance and serve the business more effectively, especially when they are used together.
Our research suggest that seven technologies have growing interaction and relevance for how the work of finance get done:
Cloud is a kind of computing that uses scalable, elastic technology to deliver services over the internet. Instead making large investments up front, finance can get the full stack of finance functionality “as-a-service,” delivered through public, private, or hybrid clouds.
Process robotics automates transaction processing and communication across multiple technology systems. Robots perform recurring processes just like humans, but with less risk of errors and fatigue.
Visualisation refers to the innovative use of images and interactive technology to explore large, high-density data sets. Visualisation suites complement business intelligence and analytics platforms, offering rich graphics, interactivity, and usability on par with leading consumer experiences.
Analytics has long been part of the finance arsenal, but new techniques are helping business people tackle the crunchy questions with insightful answers. Often that means combing through big data to see patterns that suggest future opportunities.
Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) simulate human thinking. This technology includes machine learning, natural language processing, speech recognition, and computer vision.
In-memory computing refers to storing data in main memory to get faster response times. And because the data is compressed, storage requirements are reduced. The result? Speed and access to quantities of data that were previously unimaginable.
Blockchain is a digital distributed ledger, where transactions are verified and securely stored on a network of distributed and connected nodes, without a governing central authority.
Talent essentials for digital transformation
The growth of digital business is already reshaping the talent marketplace, far beyond finance. As organisations seek to upgrade their workforces in all areas, they are placing a premium on people with
- Leadership: A sharp view into the future and a clear roadmap for getting there
- Culture: Less predictability, more
- New skills: Technology savviness combined with business understanding
- Engagement: An opportunity to learn,
grow,and innovate for digital natives or Millennials
“Digital transformation is fundamentally human-centric because it’s about imagining new ways of value creation. For that to happen, people have to be digital enablers as well as users of new digital capabilities.”
Framing the future
Which path makes sense for you? What kind of roadmap will you need to realise the benefits of digital transformation? In the end, organisations will need to chart their own courses. But no matter which future you envision, the leaders will likely be those who figure out how to make digital work for finance—and for the whole business, too.
“Not having a roadmap would be really dangerous these days because the pace of transformation is speeding up in every industry. Be on the lookout for quick wins and use them to validate your direction.”
The Deloitte Digital Finance Lab
The digital world is here. The question is, how will your finance function respond? There is so much change driven by digital innovation and data, as well as the hidden possibility within that data, that humans cannot use it effectively without more potent capabilities and solutions to find answers to their questions - as well as the questions that they don’t even know to ask.
We have developed a Digital Finance lab to immerse finance leaders in the future realities of digital disruption. Throughout the lab, you will be led through a series of exercises to help unpack your aspirations, discover finance in a digital world, begin exploring possible applications, and inspire you to change the way you think about digital finance.